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Israel-Finding Peace with its Arab Neighbors
By Tom Proebsting


March 19, 2007
Monday AM

The key to finding and keeping a lasting peace in the Middle East is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The two groups have been at each other's throats since Israel became a nation in 1948. Most Islamic terrorism
originates from this dispute.

Israel, the United States, and Saudi Arabia have been in contact recently as they prepare for peace talks in Riyadh at the end of the month. The sessions are to find a means to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. In addition, many of the Arab nations are concerned about the rise of Iran.

A good sign is coming from Syria, Iran's partner in exporting terrorism. Damascus has communicated a willingness to hold talks with the U.S. concerning the Middle East. Also, Israel and the Palestinians could sit down and talk, but Israel won't as it does not accept the newly-formed Palestinian government.

What could one nation offer another in the upcoming talks? Let's start with Syria. Israel should request that Syria recognize Israel as a sovereign nation. It should insist that Damascus stop funding terrorism and cease funneling arms and supplies to Hezbollah. Jerusalem should also require that Damascus keep its nose out of Lebanon's business. And the U.S. should demand that Syria keep its insurgents out of Iraq.

In exchange, Israel would give back the Golan Heights to Syria. This is land that Israel took from Syria during the 1967 six-day war. Israel should give Shaba'a Farms, which is in the Golan Heights, back to Lebanon. And the U.S could up the pot by offering financial aid to Syria.

This would accomplish a couple of things. First, it would encourage Saudi Arabia to legitimize Israel's sovereignty as a nation as Arabia has the most influence of any Arab nation. The Golan Heights has been an Arab point of contention for decades. Second, by drawing Syria into the fold, it would isolate and marginalize Iran. Iran may be easier to deal with after this.

The talks between Israel and the Palestinians are a little more complicated. Israel must sit down with the Palestinians and deal with them now. They must not wait until the Palestinians renounce violence or recognize Israel,s sovereignty. Time is critical. The Middle East is otherwise headed for civil war and chaos.

In talks, Israel could insist that the Palestinians recognize them as a sovereign nation and renounce all violence toward it. In exchange, Palestine would become its own sovereign nation, recognized by the United Nations and the rest of the world. Also, financial aid could be given to Palestine to start them off right. Help could come from America, the European Union, and the Arab states. The division of land for the two nations and the status of the border walls and fence must be discussed and mutually agreed on by the two sides. Two separate and distinct nations is an idea whose time has come and it is the only choice open that will lead to a lasting peace between the two factions.

These two steps should become part of the overall goal and plan for peace in the Middle East. The region is a hotbed of discontent, corruption, insurgencies, civil wars, and poverty. Peace between the essential nations in the region is merely a beginning.

Tom Proebsting
Moberly, MO

Received March 18, 2007 - Published March 19, 2007

About: "Tom Proebsting is a commentator living in Missouri. Comments should be directed to:"





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